30 October, 2020
Ceres debuts holy grail of pasture-fed livestock industry
COMMERCIAL cattle ear tags will soon be available with pasture feed intake monitoring capabilities, following news this week that eGrazor technology will be incorporated into Ceres Tags.
Developed by CSIRO, eGrazor is a sensor that monitors cattle behaviour, location and interactions, and has been lauded by many as the holy grail of today’s pasture-fed livestock industry.
Project Leader, CSIRO’s Dr Greg Bishop-Hurley, said eGrazor is one of the first systems to estimate the pasture consumed by grazing livestock and calculate stock’s efficiency.
“CSIRO together with the NSW Department of Primary Industries has used this technology to deliver algorithms monitoring a range of cattle behaviours, and notably, the amount of pasture consumed by grazing animals,” Dr Greg Bishop-Hurley said.
“Accurate measurement of this holds the key to more efficient cattle through monitoring feed efficiency, providing valuable phenotypic data to aid in selection designs.”
NSW Department of Primary Industries scientist and livestock systems expert, Dr Paul Greenwood, said livestock efficiency can be estimated by the ratio of feed consumed to kilograms of meat produced or calves weaned.
“Efficiency is measured as a ratio of inputs to outputs,” Dr Greenwood said.
“But on-farm productivity gains in the grass-fed beef sector have been static at approximately 0.5 per cent per annum for the past 15 years.
“To maintain international competitiveness, the grass-fed sector needs to lift productivity gains to around 2.5 per cent per annum,” he said.
Dr Greenwood said there are two possible solutions to this problem.
“Productivity is increased by implementing breeding strategies to identify animals genetically superior in feed efficiency, or advanced livestock management based on accurate, real-time information on animal performance,” he said. “The Ceres Tag will be critical in this.”
Ceres Tag CEO, David Smith, said the world first direct-to-satellite smart tag would enhance Ceres Tag’s existing livestock information platform.
“We have collaborated with CSIRO for many years and adding eGrazor and its behaviour monitoring algorithms was a natural extension to the advanced algorithm capability of the Ceres Tag,” he said. “The eGrazor smarts have been used in collars during the research phase but now enter the commercial market on the Ceres Tag.”
“The accelerated production of eGrazor offers new opportunities to efficiently collect data on novel traits in cattle not previously available on a commercial scale,” Mr Smith said.
“It will mean dollars for a producer’s bottom-line profitability.”
The eGrazor capability will be standard on all livestock Ceres Tags, and will be available from the Ceres Tag e-commerce website in boxes of 24 from May 2021.